Posted by: cassymuronaka | September 22, 2011

The empty, but much cleaner, nest

People ask me if I miss my son yet, who, last week was deposited on the doorstep of the University of California at Santa Cruz. My answer:  “I miss his Christopher Walken impression.”

I’m sure I’ll burst into tears the first time that he tells me that he doesn’t want to come home on a holiday break, but for now, the Empty Nest is not so awful. There are no dirty clothes lying in the upstairs hallway, no empty Arrowhead water bottles rolling around on the living room floor, and no pungent smells floating out of my son’s bedroom.

I have only run the dishwasher once since last Wednesday, and that is primarily because there no longer are dirty dishes, forks and cups magically appearing from Jake’s room, where they previously were scattered, slowly crusting into concrete.

My son’s bedroom currently looks like that of a criminal who decided overnight to go on the run and blow town.  His laundry basket is half full, his bed is unmade, and dust neatly frames the area where his PC and loudspeakers once resided on his desk.

All those promises to leave the room straight as a pin when he left for the university were about are valuable as the Mad Magazine subscription cards lying in various locations on his bedroom carpet.

Part of the reason that the room looks not much better than it did when he was living in it is because Jake had the longest going-away party in history.  Big surprise: his active social life got in the way of cleaning up his room.

I lost track of how many times his friends took him out for lunch in August. Everyone acted like he was moving to Bulgaria for the rest of his life, instead of to one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, easily accessed by car in seven hours.

My husband, who, by the way, is in a much better mood now, and I disagree on whether the old dogs really have noticed Jake’s disappearance. I think not, despite their unquestioned devotion to him. Between school, his part-time job and his girlfriend, Jake wasn’t home all that much this summer.

During the last several weeks, when he actually was here for short bursts of time, the thought of not seeing his pets for months on end caused my son to well up with crocodile tears in a way that being separated from his firm but loving parents did not.  He knows the dogs cannot immediately reach him on speed dial or Facebook, whereas his mother and father can hunt him down mercilessly at the drop of a hat.  Naturally, we already have done that: “YOUR VISA BILL IS DUE NEXT WEEK. DO NOT FORGET TO PAY THIS AGAIN.”

I anticipate that the reality of Jake’s absence will kick in next week with Lola and Red Dog, who by then will become clingy and mopey.  They will then spend the next few days lying in and just outside Jake’s bedroom door.

I might be on the floor with them by that time myself.



  1. My daughter graduated in 2005 and still complains that I’m a horrible mother because I didn’t bawl like a baby when we left her in her dorm room that first day. She was 25 miles away from home and Dad worked ten minutes away. I saw her more when she was at college then I did when she lived at home. At least, that is, until she was allowed to take her car back to campus second semester. Prepare for holidays – no matter the college they apparently teach our children everything there is to know in the first semester freshman year. Your son will know EVERYTHING when he comes home and will be more than happy to let you know it. Fun times!

    • Haha, he’s a transferring junior, so he already knows it all, of course.

  2. Huh–yeah, let me know when those empty nest tears start flowing! (Mine still haven’t, and it’s been HOW many years now???)

    • You have been so happy that you have lost count.

  3. I thought my kitchen was the only one with a sinkful of crusty plates and cups that needed to soak for weeks right after I started the dishwasher.
    May god bless him and keep him safe.

    • You are so sweet, Julie! Thx.

  4. You don’t know the half of it! Today my ExEd mentor took me on a “field trip” of several other classrooms with demographics similar to mine, so my parapros and a sub took care of the Dingy Dozen for the day! Manny left this morning for a weekend of playing with firearms in New Mexico! My last big assignment of this whole ExEd year and a half of coursework is DONE! AND COSTCO IS AGAIN SELLING MY BELOVED COOK’S BRUT CHAMPAGNE, THE FIRST BOTTLE OF WHICH IS OOZING INTO MY SYSTEM AS I TYPE!

    Seriously, Cohen, you should pop the dogs into the car and tootle on out here!


  5. Oh, okay~~I’ll let it slide till the temps drop to the low 90s!

  6. I cleaned my daughters room when she left and now she came home for Christmas and, you guessed it, it’s a huge mess. The closet isn’t bad because she is wearing the spilled contents of her suitcase. But, ya know, the dogs are happier with her being home.

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